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Sun Feb 13, 2022, 03:47 AM

Stephanie Selby, 'A Very Young Dancer', who inspired many, dies at 56

Feb. 12, 2022
Stephanie Selby, who was the high-profile subject of “A Very Young Dancer,” a book that inspired a generation of would-be ballerinas and future dance stars, but who abruptly dropped out of the ballet world and disappeared from view, died on Feb. 3 in Cody, Wyo. She was 56.

The cause was complications of an apparent attempt to end her life, said Howell Howard, a cousin.

At 10, Ms. Selby was living the dream of many aspiring dancers, taking lessons at the School of American Ballet in Manhattan, the prestigious ballet academy founded by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein and the training ground for Balanchine’s New York City Ballet.

In 1975, the photographer Jill Krementz, renowned for her images of famous authors and for writing children’s books for which she also took the photographs, visited the school. She felt she had stepped into a Degas painting and immediately knew she wanted to create a book. She watched auditions, she said in an interview, and when Stephanie was chosen for the lead role of Marie in “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker,” Ms. Krementz realized she had found her subject — and an enchanting one at that.

Stephanie Selby, ‘A Very Young Dancer’ Who Inspired Many, Dies at 56 https://nyti.ms/34D1o75



I remember that book. It was every where at the time. She starred as Marie in the New York City Ballet's annual production of The Nutcracker, that everyone in NYC goes to see. She didn't graduate from ballet school. She was asked to withdraw. Eventually went to my alma mater but never seems to have found her precise role in life. Suffered from depression from a very young age. Quite sad.

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Reply Stephanie Selby, 'A Very Young Dancer', who inspired many, dies at 56 (Original post)
Tomconroy Feb 2022 OP
Laurelin Feb 2022 #1
Demovictory9 Feb 2022 #2
Laurelin Feb 2022 #3
Demovictory9 Feb 2022 #4
betsuni Feb 2022 #5
peggysue2 Feb 2022 #6

Response to Tomconroy (Original post)

Sun Feb 13, 2022, 04:01 AM

1. Ballet is tough

Lots of teachers are abusive. Ballet is really hard on your body. Eating disorders are still common. And ballerinas are artists. Artists tend to be a bit unusual, sometimes to the point of unstable.

I'm a very bad ballet mom. I've told my daughter since she was 2 that she can dance for fun but shouldn't do it for a career, which is probably why it's her career. Now I'll break out into a revised Willie Nelson song, mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be dancers...

Sad news about Ms Selby.

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Response to Laurelin (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 13, 2022, 04:33 AM

2. it sure is tough... remember MIchaela Deprince? She was everywhere a few years ago, then disappears

I hope she's ok.




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Response to Demovictory9 (Reply #2)

Sun Feb 13, 2022, 04:44 AM

3. Isn't she currently with Boston Ballet?

One of my daughter's friends is there. I hear it's a nice company.

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Response to Laurelin (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 13, 2022, 04:48 AM

4. oh, is she? I will look into it.

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Response to Tomconroy (Original post)

Sun Feb 13, 2022, 06:46 AM

5. I don't understand why a ten year old would be inspiring. NYCB is brutally competitive, puberty

coming up and then too tall, too big, too this, too that, not enough the other thing.

Last year I read a fantastic book, "Where Snowflakes Dance and Swear, Inside the Land of Ballet" by Stephen Manes. An extremely thick book. Manes isn't a ballet person, combination journalist and anthropologist. Best part, the personal stories of dancers. Many of them have terrible stories of injuries, setbacks, problems. That's the reality. Don't know why anyone would romanticize what's a combination of daily physical hard labor and religious cult.

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Response to Tomconroy (Original post)

Sun Feb 13, 2022, 11:47 AM

6. Sad, troubling story

Too often children pushed or pushing themselves into these realms of high performance end up with 'demons' when reaching adulthood. Despite the early gifts, the extraordinary physical attributes, they're often eaten up as kids by adult-sized ambitions, emotional stress, jealousies of the particular 'world' they enter. And then, callously tossed aside once their youth is spent, their dreams turned to ash.

This is one of those stories.

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